genre: heavy psych
quality: lossless (flac, cue, log, scans)
time: 39'38" size: 266 mb
Dreams Fantasies & Nightmares:
Armando Nava was born in the city of Durango in the state of Durango in Mexico in 1946. At the age of fifteen he bought his first guitar for $100 and joined his first band in high school, Xippos Rock, in 1963, on rhythm guitar. When the leader of the group left, Armando took over as their new frontman, reluctantly at first. After high school, Armando travelled to Sausalito, California, where he spent four months studying the English language. Xippos Rock's first tour took them from Durango to Tijuana in a two-week period. Armando's father, a salesman, was their driver, and while the band was playing, he'd be out selling. Midway through the the tour, somewhere in Sinaloa, Armando decided to change the name of the band to Los Dug Dug's. The name was a contraction of Durango, Durango, that he'd come up with himself.
The band stayed in Tijuana and paid its dues playing several gigs at Fantasitas, a strip bar. The band soon developed a rapidly growing audience and a place in history as the first band in Mexico doing cover versions of American hits in English. In fact, they made the Beatles popular in Mexico when they became the first band to perform Beatles songs there, learning the songs from records brought in from San Diego from friends they knew.
The band's popularity soon got them out of the strip joints and into the rock 'n' roll clubs, and, in 1966, Armando decided to seek fame and fortune in Mexico City. Along the way a couple of band members dropped out and were quickly replaced. The right people saw them and by 1967 the band had signed with RCA and recorded its first single, Chicotito Si, Chicotito No a song which became the theme for a Mexican children's T.V. show! Over the next few years the band would put out a string of singles (ten in all) many with non-album tracks, including Piedra Dorada an instrumental piece from the soundtrack of "Cinco De Chocolate Y Una De Fresa", one of two movies they appeared in that same year ("El Mundo Loco De Los Jovenes" was the other); and a bunch of cover versions including California Dreaming, Hanky Panky (which was released on an RCA compilation album of various Mexican bands doing American covers), and The Yardbirds' Over Under Sideways Down, which wasn't quite what it could have been, due to the fact that Armando couldn't find a fuzzbox for the recording session anywhere in Mexico!
In 1968, Los Dug Dug's returned to Tijuana to even bigger, wilder audiences than before. In one of these audiences was a tourist from New Jersey named Frank Mangano, Jr. He promised he would make the band stars in America, and for a band in Mexico, this was something virtually unheard of. Armando and the band jumped at the chance, and soon found themselves living in New York City! Armando lived for a time at the famous Margaret Hotel in Brooklyn Heights, the awesome view of the Manhattan skyline from the neighbourhood inspiring him to write songs like Teardrops In The Sky and the band made a bunch of recordings, with Mangano paying for everything. Unfortunately, there was one thing he was unwilling to pay: the $5,000 fee the music union wanted for the band to play all the biggest clubs in New York. The deal crashed right then and there, and the disillusioned line-up splintered apart upon its return to Mexico.
It was Armando's own idea to sing in English, since no other bands in Mexico were singing in English, it being the standard in Mexico for bands to rewrite the lyrics to popular American and British songs in Spanish prior to covering them. The newly restructured band's first album in 1970, Lost In My World, was sung entirely in English, and gave the band two hit singles in Mexico, World Of Love and Eclipse. Business was also a factor in their decision to sing in English, what with Armando's continued hopes of someday making it in the 'States, not to mention RCA's. They shine through at their best on cuts like Lost In My World, I Got The Feeling, It's Over (which also figures on the Love, Peace And Poetry: Latin American Psychedelic Music compilation) and Let's Make It Now, which throws in a drum solo for good measure. World Of Love has a very immediate, poppy appeal and features nice woodwind and a singalong chorus. Others like Eclipse are more laid back. All lyrics are in English and this album is a 'must have'.
Smog is similar in style to their first album. Most of the better tracks, including the title track, Hagamoslo Ahora, Yo No Se and No Somos Malos are characterised by a progressive rock sound with lots of instrumentation (including woodwind and brass). They sound rather similar to Jethro Tull on this album, but with those distinctly Latin American bouncy rhythms. Everyone was expecting Armando to sing in English again, but he had other ideas. With other Mexican bands picking up on their lead and singing originals in English, Armando decided it was time to pull a fast one. After the band had recorded just three songs, Armando stormed out of the sessions and locked himself in his house for fifteen days. As everyone worried, Armando kept himself busy restructuring the entire album from scratch, writing among other things the punishing riffs that comprised the mesmerising twelve-minute medley that would explode all over the album's first side. He emerged from his seclusion, returned to the studio, the band cranked out its all time masterpiece, and Armando got his wish to sing the entire album in Spanish. Despite his ambitious eforts, though Smog met with only modest success in Mexico.
On 11th September 1971, Los Dug Dug's were the first band to take the stage at Avandaro, the Mexican version of Woodstock, in Mexico City. The gig was totally promoted by word of mouth for fear of intervention by the government, who for the past few years had been cracking down viciously on youth movements. Anyone who tried to promote the gig with ads in publications or on radio were faced with fines from the Mexican government. The gig went off without a hitch, with the strength in numbers of 250,000 people who made it to the all-day festival of Mexican rock 'n' roll's finest bands. It was a triumph for Los Dug Dug's, who threw away the Beatles covers that night and performed an all-original set.
Realising that they weren't likely to get much airplay in Mexico with twelve-minute psychedelic guitar assaults, Los Dug Dug's ditched the caveman look of the Smog album, cut their hair, and were photographed out in the countryside for their next album, Cambia Cambia, which took on a mid-seventies hard-pop edge.
The band finally got some of the airplay they desired, in places like Guadalaja, Tijuana, and La Paz, but the album somehow went almost totally unnoticed by the stations in Mexico City, where they needed the airplay the most. The band toured extensively behind the album in low budget conditions, often having to sleep in their van as some of the towns they played at didn't even have hotels. El Loco, the band's final official album for RCA, saw them returning some of the harder edge to the pop sound cultivated on Cambia Cambia, in songs like Stupid People and We Always Hate Your Manners. But RCA refused to give it proper promotional support and that was pretty much that.
Years later, in the mid-eighties RCA reissued the band's catalogue on its Camden subsidiary, along with 15 Exitos De Los Dug Dug's. Armando put together an odds-and-ends compilation, Abre Tu Mente, and submitted it in 1985 to RCA, who told him they were willing to release it, but only if he financed the album himself, which he grudgingly agreed to do. Finally, when RCA was bought out by the BMG group, Armando secured the rights to all of the band's albums from the label. The first album was recently reissued on CD by La Circuela Electrica in Tijuana in 1997. The second followed in 1998.
The English versions of Smog and I Don't Care (Yo No Se) on Abre Tu Mente are actually the original versions of those tracks from the original abandoned Smog sessions. The third track they recorded before Armando jumped ship was an English version of Cual Es Tu Nombre (What Is Your Name) that remains unreleased.
Los Dug Dug's still perform regularly on Mexican variety shows on T.V., and were the house band for one particular show recently for three months running!
Los Dug Dug's most recent recordings appear on a recently released compilation CD that you can buy at their club, La Reunion. The band does cover versions of Wild Thing, In The Midnight Hour, I Got You (I Feel Good) and Born To Be Wild.Armando wants to keep going, making new recordings and taking the band well into it's fourth decade. He hopes to put together a 30th Anniversary tour, and wants to have Grand Funk (who are huge in Mexico) on the bill with them! ~ (RB/VJ)
01. Smog 3:19
02. Buscalo 1:42
03. Hagamoslo Ahora 11:46
04. Yo No Se 3:47
05. Cual Es Tu Nombre 3:08
06. Meditacion 1:14
07. No Somos Malos 3:09
08. Voy Hacia El Cielo 6:20
09. Smog (Version en Ingles) 2:46
10. I've Got to Run, Away From Here 2:27
|GUSTAVO GARAIZAR DAVIS
||vcls, gtr, flute, piano, perc
|JORGE DE LA TORRE